Steve Harper excited by final-day run-out

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Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper is excited by the prospect of pulling on his gloves for the visit of Arsenal on the final day of the season.

The veteran 'keeper is likely to start against the Gunners at St James' Park, having been a late substitute in the 2-1 win at QPR on Sunday in a game which sealed his side's Premier League status.

Harper was called upon after Rob Elliot was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence, and the 38-year-old is ready take advantage of Elliot's misfortune.

He told the official Newcastle website: "I was hoping to play but not in these circumstances.

"However, i'm looking forward to the Arsenal game, it will be fantastic."

Having spent 20 years at St James' Park, Sunday's game will signal the end of an era for Harper, who will be leaving the club when his contract expires in the summer.

Over the course of his Newcastle career the stopper has had to play deputy to the likes of Shay Given and Tim Krul and has grown accustomed to a substitutes role.

Harper said: "I've been in that position too many times so I know what it's all about. I think i've gone on probably double figures now.

"It's always horrible going on, whether Rob's been injured or harshly sent off, as he was today.

"But that's why you're there - you have to be ready, and I was very well protected by the lads in front of me."

Whilst the Toon are safe, Arsenal will be looking for three points in their fight for a place in the Champions League.

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Newcastle United
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Steve Harper

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